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Student and Faculty Activities

CTAHR strives to maximize students' personal growth and development by providing a variety of opportunities to network, build and strengthen relationships, and get involved in fun, enriching co-curricular activities.

Below are selected examples of recent student activities sponsored by CTAHR.


Spring Event

CTAHR held its third annual outdoor carnival-themed Spring Event on Friday, January 30, 2015. Over 200 students, faculty, and staff came out for free food, fun, and games. This year’s booths featured a bean bag toss, frisbee tic-tac-toe, rainbow roulette trivia, and ring toss. CTAHR was also introduced to Frank Uratani, a caricature artist. The dunk booth tradition remained at this year’s event. Donations from this year’s welcome back event supported the CTAHR student organization Innovators of Fashion. Over $200 was collected to support their Annual Senior Fashion Show.

Big thanks to Dr. Rajesh Jha (HNFAS), Dr. Alan Titchenal (FSHN), Dr. Andy Reilly (FCS), Dr. Kirsten Oleson (NREM), Dr. Brent Buckley (HNFAS), and Dr. Charly Kinoshita (Associate Dean, ASAO) for volunteering to get dunked. Mahalo to Ryan Kurasaki for assisting with food arrangements and the carnival layout. Also, great thanks to Dr. Janice Uchida for donating potted plants for prizes and Steve and Karen Sato for sponsoring this event. Mahalo to the Spring Event student committee, scholarship recipient and student ambassador volunteers, and ASAO for their time and dedication in making this a smooth and successful event. Lastly, thank you to everyone who attended and donated to this year’s cause and making this year’s carnival another memorable CTAHR event!


Ag Awareness Day

About 600 fifth-grade students and teachers from Kalihi Elementary, Kalihi Kai Elementary, Kalihi Uka Elementary, Kalihi Waena Elementary, Kauluwela Elementary, Lunalilo Elementary, Puuhale Elementary, and Pauoa Elementary attended the 2014 Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day on Friday, March 7, 2014 out at the Pearl City Urban Garden Center. The purpose of this outdoor event is to create a greater awareness and understanding of agriculture and the environment among today’s youth, teachers, and general public, as well as to introduce young students to potential Hawaii-based career opportunities in these fields. University faculty, staff and students, government agencies, private industry, and community members who volunteer their time to educate the students made up the 16 presentations and 12 exhibits that students participated in on this day. Several exhibits returned the next day for the Second Saturday at the Garden event open to the general public. CTAHR’s Oahu Cooperative Extension Office and Academic and Student Affairs partnered again to organize this annual event. Funding support was provided by USDA through CTAHR’s Agribusiness Education, Training, and Incubation Program. The City and County of Honolulu also provided generous funding for this event and graced the entire crowd of 600 with a warming welcome in the middle of the morning. Thank you to the Pearl City Urban Garden Center staff and volunteers, ASAO staff, and Waimanalo Research Station staff, for planning and setting up the event. Also, a big mahalo to the CTAHR faculty and staff, government agencies, community members, and company representatives who volunteered their time and knowledge for the presentations and exhibits at the Friday and Saturday events. Lastly, thank you to Dr. Po-Yung Lai of the City and County of Honolulu for helping us acquire funding for this year’s event.


CTAHR Career Workshop

Approximately 45 students and 15 employers/agencies gathered in Gilmore Hall on Thursday, March 5, 2015 for the CTAHR Career Workshop. Professionals from organizations large and small came out to speak to our students, including Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Kupu, USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection Quarantine, USDA - Meat Inspection, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Libre Farms, Licious Dishes, Valerie Joseph Boutique, Manoa Career Center and CTAHR’s Ms. Lynn Yamashita and Dr. JP Bingham. Students learned about potential internship/career opportunities, personal career pathways and experiences of those working in jobs related to their fields of study. After these informative sessions, all attendees gathered in Gilmore 306 for the first-ever speaker panel. CTAHR alumnus Matthew Goo, Melanie Takahashi of the Manoa Career Center, and Grace Magruder of the Peace Corps talked from their perspectives on tips to facilitate the transition from student to employee. Afterwards, all mingled and enjoyed pupus provided by Monsanto and Pioneer. Overall, this experience proved to be insightful for both students and employers.

Thank you to all of the professionals who volunteered their time to share their valuable knowledge and experiences with our students, ASAO for organizing this event, CTAHR student volunteers, and to the students who attended this event.


Student Research Symposium

Students at the University of Hawai‘i have few opportunities to present their scholarly work in professional conferences due to the geographic isolation of Hawai‘i and the high cost of travel to attend conferences outside the state. One of the main goals of the annual Student Research Symposium is to give students the experience of presenting their work in a friendly, yet academic setting similar to national and international conferences. Through travel grant awards, the symposium enables graduate students to compete for travel grants to share their research findings at professional conferences outside the state.

Continuing a now four-year tradition, CTAHR teamed with the College of Engineering (COE) to host this year’s 26th annual Student Research Symposium. Over 300 students, faculty, staff, and guests gathered at the Agricultural Science building on the UH Mānoa campus on April 11 and 12, 2014 for a lively, scholarly exchange over the 129 poster and oral presentations by undergraduate and graduate students in all six CTAHR departments and three departments in COE. The topics spanned all stages of the process of research and development as well as all types of student learning, including discovery; advanced diagnostics and laboratory testing; design, validation and field testing; and adoption of new methods and technologies. The caliber of the students’ work was truly impressive. After the posters were judged and the general public had the chance to view the posters and meet with presenters about their research, attendees, including UH President David Lassner and UHM Chancellor Tom Apple, enjoyed dinner outdoors. The Symposium continued on Saturday morning, with a continental breakfast, oral sessions, and ending with lunch. Thank you to those whose hard work made this event successful, including the student participants and faculty advisor/mentors, judges and moderators, staff and student volunteers, members of the Symposium Coordinating Committee, and to SAPFB for funding part of this event.

Mahalo again to all participants in the 2014 CTAHR-COE Student Research Symposium, and congratulations to the award recipients.


Awards Banquet

Academic excellence, a diverse economy, a healthy environment, and strong families and communities: these goals are central to CTAHR's mission. This shared mission is embraced at our annual Awards Banquet, where the excellence and accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff are recognized; an outstanding alumnus who has made important contributions to a field or discipline represented by CTAHR is honored; and tribute is paid to an exceptional individual from the community whose commitment to the college has greatly furthered CTAHR’s goals.

Attendees at the 23rd Awards Banquet on May 6, 2011 were entertained by the high-energy Derek Kurisu, CTAHR alumnus and local TV star, and the personable Jayna Tasaka (FCS) as they feasted on Farm-to-Table fare and applauded members of the CTAHR ‘ohana and friends. In all, almost 400 people attended, including President Greenwood. She remarked on the important role CTAHR plays in Hawai‘i’s communities—and they know how to throw a great party, too!

Honorees who were recognized that evening:

The 2011 Outstanding Alumna is Dr. PingSun Leung (PhD, Agricultural & Resource Economics), a professor in Natural Resources & Environmental Management. Dr. Leung is also an internationally renowned aquaculture and fisheries economist, advancing the field through research, founding the journal Aquaculture Economics and Management, and serving as a consultant to various local and international organizations and agencies. This year’s Ka Lei Hano Heritage Award recipient is Mr. Harold Tanouye, president and owner of Green Point Nurseries. He is a leader and innovator in the local agricultural industry, and through strong collaboration with CTAHR, has helped keep Hawai‘i’s anthurium industry competitive and thriving in the global marketplace.

Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Jon-Paul Bingham (MBBE)
Excellence in Research – Dr. Arnold Hara (PEPS, Hawai‘i County)
Excellence in Extension – Dr. Barbara DeBaryshe & the Early Reading First Team (Center on the Family)
Ka Pouhana (Mentor) Award – Dr. Wayne Iwaoka (HNFAS)
Alvin T. & Charlotte C. Nakamura Hoku Award – Dr. Linda Cox (NREM)
Outstanding Civil Service – Ms. Marla Fergerstrom (Mealani Research Station, Hawai‘i County)
Ka Hana Po‘okela Service Awards: graduate student – Noe Abejon (NREM)
Ka Hana Po‘okela Service Awards: undergraduate student – Gabriel Sachter-Smith (TPSS)

Thank you to the many people who helped to make the event a success including the Awards Banquet Planning Committee, Elsie Kawahara for serving as IT technician, the CTAHR student ambassadors, CTAHR’s Office of Communication Services and Office of Academic & Student Affairs, and to the many donors who provided the floral arrangements and gift bags.


Spring Convocation

CTAHR Spring 2014 graduates

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, over 200 CTAHR students, their families and friends, and CTAHR faculty and staff attended the CTAHR Convocation in the Campus Center Ballroom. This intimate celebration, emceed by Lisa Kitagawa-Akagi, began with congratulatory remarks from Dean Maria Gallo and CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends President Dr. Susan Miller. Our Spring 2014 student marshals Maili Huck (FSHN) and Ryan Pe'a (NREM), selected for their academic achievements, leadership and service to CTAHR and the University, were then called on stage to be recognized. Afterwards, graduating students active in CTAHR-affiliated student organizations were acknowledged for their participation in these organizations. CTAHR also recognized five students who completed the Dietetic Internship Program. The ceremony concluded with the individual recognition of 61 of our graduates. Following the program were refreshments and a chance for family, friends, and mentors to mingle with the graduating students. Congratulations to our graduating students for achieving such a milestone! Good luck in your future endeavors!

A big mahalo to all those who supported our graduating students. Thank you to SAPFB for partially funding this event, the CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends for their support, Steven and Karen Sato for donating lei, CTAHR scholarship recipients and student ambassadors for volunteering at the event, and ASAO for providing the CTAHR memorabilia presented to the graduates and organizing this event.


Summer Study Tour in Peru

Four CTAHR students, Mandy Chen (ANSC), Rheanna Dominici (FAMR), Brandon Ngao (BE), and Flora Wang (FSHN), and Sylvia Wu of ASAO embarked on a twelve-day international adventure from May 22-June 2, 2015 to explore the Peruvian city of Cusco, volunteer in the Amazonian jungle, and visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

After their arrival at Cusco, at an elevation of 11,200 ft, they were escorted to their homestay close to the main tourist city center. They first met their host mother, whom would prepare delicious and authentic Peruvian cuisine for their meals in Cusco. Then, the entire group took a 10-hour bus trip down to Puerto Maldonado.

They traveled by motorboat from the port to an island where Casa ITA lay, their home base for the following five days. That afternoon and for the rest of their days at the Amazon, they would make a daily boat ride on the Rio Madre de Dios to Gamitana Farm, where all kinds of organic foods grew. They engaged in manual labor, from heading in the jungle to find dead trees to break down into mulch, sifting compost to combine with tilled soil on prepared plant beds for the newest crops, cutting plantains to dry and grind into flour, clearing land for agricultural use, and harvesting banana saplings to diversify propagation on the farmlands. They observed wildlife at an animal sanctuary, on a night walk, on a canopy walk, and during a snake hunt.

Their next adventure after the jungle was to the sacred and historical Machu Picchu. They first hiked the neighboring mountain called Huayna Picchu, heading up into the misty clouds. At the top were breathtaking views of Machu Picchu when it was not shrouded in clouds. They met with their tour guide Romulo at the gate entrance for a guided tour of the ruins, where they learned of the innovative water systems and architectural techniques, and religious, secular, and political divides of the civilization, among other interesting facts.

After returning for their final day in Cusco city, they soaked up what they could of the people, food, and culture before they headed to the airport and the plane ride back home. After 15,500 miles of traveling, the adventure in Peru had come to an end.

Thank you to IVHQ, Maximo Nivel, and InkaTerra for making our tour educational and meaningful. Mahalo to Katie, Medy, Jack, Chelsey, Noe, Yasmani, Helmut, and Gabriela for hosting our CTAHR group, going out of your way to make our experience in Cusco and the Amazon as enjoyable as it could be and providing many unforgettable memories. We also want to extend our gratitude to the rest of the Maximo Nivel volunteers at the jungle and the friendly Peruvians we met during our travel. In addition, mahalo to ASAO for supporting our students on this international study tour and to the students who participated and made this experience meaningful for everyone we encountered in Peru.

See a video made by the students at:
Another video created by Maximo Nivel is viewable at:

To check out the first year's summer study tour, please visit the group's blog at:


New Student Orientation

CTAHR’s New Student Orientation provides a great introduction for incoming freshman and transfer students to our college. About 35 new students attended this year’s program.

The newest members of our college received words of welcome as well as an overview of our four main values of instructional philosophy (Scholarship, Ethical Behavior, Diversity, and Service) from Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Charly Kinoshita. Lisa Kitagawa-Akagi then briefly talked about academic requirements. Representatives from various student clubs and organizations in CTAHR then publicized their groups to encourage new students to join and get involved. The formal program ended with a slideshow of pictures from events in the college during the past academic year.

Afterwards, the new students were divided into smaller groups, each led by two or three current CTAHR students. During these more intimate sessions current students mingled and gave advice to the incoming students, first breaking the ice by answering questions in a bag, sharing their personal development of various skills and competencies that will help them in life after college, and a question-and-answer segment for the new students to ask what’s on their mind. Afterwards, groups went out on a campus tour and then came back to Gilmore Hall for a tasty lunch and to meet with an academic advisor, where they received guidance on classes to take and what to expect in college from their academic advisors. The new students left with a better understanding of what it means to be a part of CTAHR.

This orientation would not have been possible with the assistance of many individuals. A big thank you to the student committee members and Scholarship Recipients who served as NSO leaders: Sheldon Arakawa, Arby Barone, Stanley Chan, Jerrisa Ching, Noel Gibeau, Abraham Kwan, Hailey Pederson, Jason McMurray, Brandon Ngao, Ryan Ringuette, Trexia Sison, Angela Stein, Ericka Yiu, and Kelli Zakimi; faculty advisors, student club and organization representatives; and ASAO for helping us welcome the newest members of our college!


Welcome Back Ice Cream Bash

CTAHR’s 26th Annual Welcome Back Ice Cream Bash commenced on Monday, September 8 in the Sherman Courtyard. Representatives from CTAHR’s departments and administration vied for the top honors in the costume contest as well as ice cream eating competition. After the friendly competitions, CTAHR students, faculty, and staff enjoyed free ice cream and popsicles graciously provided once again by Meadow Gold Dairies of Hawaii.

Competing in this year’s contests were Ashley Perreira (Family & Consumer Sciences), Dr. Benny Ron (Human Nutrition, Food & Animal Sciences), Sheldon Arakawa (Molecular Biosciences & Bioengineering), Jonathan Marshall (Natural Resources & Environmental Management), Jordie Ocenar (Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences), and Kellie Kong (Administration). Congratulations to Administration’s Kellie Kong for winning the costume contest and HNFAS’s Dr. Benny Ron for scavenging for M&Ms in his ice cream with lightning speed and downing the contents of his ice cream bowl in record time.

This year’s beneficiary for monetary donations was the FSHN Council, a CTAHR student organization that strives to nurture students’ interest in dietetics, research, community wellness, and nutrition. They are involved in numerous conferences, service projects, and leadership development opportunities, including the Annual Leadership Retreat at Camp Kokokahi. FSHN Council created a cold water challenge to entice donors, agreeing to douse a member of the FSHN Council in icy water for every $35 raised. The tactic worked; over $250 were collected at this year’s event!

Thank you to all who attended the bash, our contestants, and especially to those who donated to the FSHN Council. Big mahalos go out to Meadow Gold Dairies of Hawaii for its continuous support of CTAHR; Ryan Kurasaki, Joannie Dobbs, and the HNFAS and NREM departments for the usage of their facilities; Ray Uchida of the Oahu Extension Office and Lito Cacho and Richard Fisher of Pearl City Urban Garden Center for tent coverage; and our ice cream scoopers. Lastly, thank you to our co-emcees Jason McMurray and Vanessa Pulido and the rest of the planning committee, scholarship recipients, ASAO, and everyone whose efforts made the 26th Annual Welcome Back Ice Cream Bash a success!

Check out photos from this event on Flickr.


A Meaningful Experience

Twenty-one CTAHR students and staff excitedly stepped onto the plane to travel to Kona, Hawaii in the early morning of Friday, November 7, 2014 for the Eleventh Annual Meaningful Experience. They first headed to the Mealani Research Station to learn about the different research happening at the station. Marla Fergerstrom and other staff members led the students on a tour of the facilities to learn about tea cultivation, research on the growth of blueberries, and even had a chance to feed cattle. After spending three hours at the station, the students headed to lunch at Village Burger, known for using local ingredients.

After a quick lunch, the group headed to their next activity: the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. There, they learned about the farms operations and how ideal conditions in Kailua Kona are for raising these delicate creatures. The highlight of the tour was having the seahorses curl around the participants’ fingers.

The day then continued with teambuilding activities, led by MBBE alumna Malina Ivey. After two hours of getting to know one another, the group called it a day and explored the nearby area for dinner and free time.

The next morning, the group woke up early to head up to Kohala for a cultural tour of this historic area. They rode on ATVs to places that King Kamehameha traveled to himself. Their scenic route included a secluded beach area likened to Oahu’s North Shore, Parker Ranch, and a macadamia orchard. After their adventure, they headed to lunch at a nearby spot.

They then headed to the end of the paved road and hiked down to a scenic black sand beach at the mouth of Pololu Valley, where they relaxed a little before moving on to the final activity of their trip: the Hawaii Wildlife Center. There, they learned about the center’s efforts in helping injured birds recuperate and return to the wilderness. After an education-filled weekend, the participants then flew back to Oahu.

Thank you to Marla Fergerstrom and the staff of Mealani Research Station for hosting our visit to their facilities. We also want to extend our gratitude to ASUH and ASAO for supporting our students to go to Kona. Lastly, thank you to the students who participated and made this experience meaningful for the entire group.


Blood Drive

Every day, 200 blood donors are needed to meet the needs of Hawaii’s patients. Although statistics show that 60% of us will need blood sometime in our lives, only 2% of our state’s population donates. To continue its support for this important cause of saving lives, CTAHR hosted its eleventh blood drive on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

This year, we collected 54 pints of blood. Since each pint of blood can be separated into three components, as many as 162 lives can be saved from donations collected at our drive. The precious gift of life not only helps those who need the blood, but touches the lives of the families of the recipients as well.

The Blood Bank and CTAHR truly appreciates the time and generosity of everyone who contributed to this successful event and giving the precious gift of life. Much mahalo to those who came out to donate blood. Thank you to Steve and Karen Sato for the support and generous donation to supply malasadas for our blood drive. Also, thanks to the scholarship recipients who helped throughout the day and provided a positive and comfortable environment for those who came to donate.


Fall Convocation

On Friday, December 7, 2012, over 150 CTAHR students, their families and friends, and CTAHR faculty and staff attended the CTAHR Convocation in the Campus Center Ballroom. This is the first time in ten years that the College has held a convocation ceremony for its graduating students. This intimate celebration, emceed by Mrs. Lisa Kitagawa-Akagi, began with congratulatory remarks from Dean Maria Gallo and CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends President Dr. Susan Miller. Our Fall 2012 student marshals Allyson Fujii (FAMR) and Jordan Oshiro (FSHN), selected for their academic achievements and high involvement in CTAHR, were then called to stage to be recognized. Afterwards, graduating students active in CTAHR-affiliated student organizations were acknowledged for their participation in these groups. The formal program then concluded with the individual recognition of 40 of our graduates. Following the program were refreshments and a chance for family, friends, and mentors to mingle with the graduating students. Congratulations to our graduating students for achieving such a milestone! Good luck in your future endeavors!

A big mahalo to all those who supported our graduating students. Thank you to the CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends for donating lei, CTAHR scholarship recipients and student ambassadors for volunteering at the event, Yama’s Fishmarket for catering the food, and ASAO for providing the CTAHR memorabilia presented to the graduates and organizing this event.